Ana says in her post on the Web generation – a re-visit:
What constitutes being a netizen may vary according to one’s perspective and degree of online participation – as in relation to other issues, one always needs to consider the context, points of reference and remember that everything is relative. In other words, some may be considered netizens because they produce and participate actively in social media, whereas others may restrict their online experience to consuming what has been produced, emailing and participating in social networks.
How would people view “netizens”? Internet to the “natives” may be a place they were born and lived with. But even then some (in under-developed world, or developing countries) are less fortunate than others (in developed world), due to access, poverty, skills, cultures etc. These issues are not open and transparent due to complicated reasons – power, authorities and unavailability of statistics (facts and data), so there are many assumptions in developing those taxonomy or dichotomies – on natives versus migrants or residents versus visitors, especially in under-developed or developing countries, and the citizens there. The need of education of the different generations in the use of internet and associated technology, in certain developed countries could be markedly different from those in other developing countries, where basic, traditional education is still practiced. Is netizens then be a challenge for those people living without access to technology and internet? The urge for equity in education (adult and higher education), personalized learning using technology may be a catalyst for educational reforms and transformation, but there are economical implications when it comes to educational policy and directions.
My interpretation of the article was that younger net generation (the digital natives) has certain expectations and values that seem to be different from those of other generations, the older generation in particular. Such generation gap could create immense tension, from a societal and educational point of view. For instance, freedom of speech, freedom of access to information and to culture, and the concept of openness, would be viewed as the basis of a democratic society. But what about the reality in many communities or networks around the globe? Are there any resistances to changes in the acceptance of openness, diversity? The gen divide: Gen X, Y, post 90s, 2000’s etc. would be interpreted differently when it comes to Netizens, especially due to the difference between the haves and haves not (in terms of developed infrastructure vs un-developed ones) and the use of mobiles, apparently ubiquitous in many of the countries like Africa, China and India, is still subject to certain constraints, due to numerous factors, in their access to certain websites, internet etc. The use of mobiles – like the telephones revolution in the last century, might be promising as an educational and learning tool, but is rather limiting in a formal institutional setting. Why? Mobiles are NOT allowed in a lot of schools, and are considered a distraction to formal teaching, from the traditional educational school philosophy. Mobiles on the other hand could be the FUTURE of education as the research reveals, and this may require a lot of structural changes in order to fully exploit its affordance.
Postscript: An interesting video on Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants
Pictures: Google Image